First off, hello and Happy Spring. Even though it started back in March I feel that it never runs out of style to say Happy Spring! The feeling of renewal and joy is in the air as we hear the hum and inviting music of the birds singing. The gentle breeze that sways the newly minted leaves is invigorating and puts a smile on our faces. It is a great time of year for additional appreciation for what we have and the excitement of new beginnings.
My name is Tim and I am the Master’s of Social Work intern with Street Yoga. My time with Street Yoga started about eight months ago. As I was introduced to the Street Yoga team and became a teacher at Harry’s Mother, a transitional youth program of Janus Youth Services, I became aware of the many intricate details that go into planning and guiding a yoga class. Throughout the year I remembered the intention of always trying to bring myself to class.
Those words were ever-present in the back of my mind when I felt nervous walking into the yoga space and seeing all the new faces. What to do, and what to say was always present. But you know what? That started to fade, as most things will. Repetition and a true sincerity to come and guide a class was an honor instead of a task. Who was learning more, the students or this teacher? I would like to say that it was a partnership. Over the months I developed my own rhythm and comfort. I began incorporating lessons that I learned in other disciplines that are inline with yoga traditions. It is this stage of development that we can start to improvise and find flexibility in ourselves and the needs of the youth we work with. I found myself increasingly able to focus and be more present. As a proponent of multi-modal approaches, I brought a little of everything to my classes. There was time to sit and pause in awareness, stretch for flexibility, and build heat by moving limbs for strength.
When Street Yoga decided to move forward with placing a co-teacher in each site, I wasn’t too worried but I wasn’t necessarily that excited about it either. With most things that one starts solo, there may be a sense of ownership of the particular pattern that has arisen. I believe it is fairly normal to feel this way. The new model was explored and developed thoughtfully by our Street Yoga management team. It will ultimately assist in co-creating a class that brings the knowledge and creativity from two teachers to benefit the students.
One Tuesday afternoon I met a woman who was observing my class as part of her volunteer orientation and potentially would become my co-teacher. From the moment we met we had a familiar bond and like minded approach to movement and yoga. There was a connection that enhanced our experience in that class because it was the understanding and appreciation of how the art of play can enhance our practice. What I mean by this is that smiling, laughter, less seriousness and exploration of our bodies and connection with each other is very important. To sum it up, it was a great experience.
I am now co-teaching the yoga class at Harry’s Mother. With any transition, open communication is a great friend. The new teacher and I check in about the intention of the class, anything that may be on our minds, a feeling that might want to be explored or other ideas, before the youth walk in. Sometimes we go with the plan and other times we improvise. The joys of co-teaching are the feeling that someone has your back. From my perspective, we bring out the best in each other, and our unique abilities to offer presence and invite the youth to come on an hour long journey with us. An invitation to try something new. I did, and it is a journey that is only beginning.
Street Yoga Intern
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